Station North's new makerspace is taking STEM on the road - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jul. 13, 2016 1:13 pm

Station North’s new makerspace is taking STEM on the road

Open Works is gearing up for its big launch, but the nonprofit is also rolling out a mobile makerspace to reach more kids.

Open Works General Manager Will Holman in front of the makerspace-in-a-van.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Preparations for opening day are entering the home stretch at Open Works on Greenmount Avenue. The first of three CNC machines was delivered, and several tenants including 3D-printing startup jimmi have already signed on to use the micro-studios in the Baltimore Arts Realty Corp.-developed space.

But as work finishes up on the studios, fabrication workshops and computer labs inside, the team behind the massive makerspace is already thinking outside the walls.

Inside Open Works Mobile. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Inside Open Works Mobile. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

At Artscape this weekend and at various events heading into the fall, the nonprofit is set to start rolling out a mobile makerspace. In preparing for Open Works’ youth education programming, the team connected with educators like Raymond Braxton. He’s principal of Johnston Square Elementary, which is located three blocks away.

He’s eager to have the opportunity to expose kids to new tools.

Workers at Open Works. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Workers at Open Works. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

“They call it the donut hole, because there’s nothing in the neighborhood, but everything’s around it. And so it’s exciting to actually have something in the neighborhood that the kids can get to and access,” Braxton said.

But for others in the area, traveling to the space will still be a barrier for many educators.

“As we went through the design and development process, we realized that there were a lot of people that were not going to be able to make it to Open Works. So we started thinking about a way that we could bring Open Works to them,” said General Manager Will Holman.

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Will Holman explains Open Works' first CNC machine.

Will Holman explains Open Works’ first CNC machine. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

The van, called Open Works Mobile, is outfitted with a 3D printer and other basic technology. Surface Project, based at Station North Tool Library, built carts and Stanley Black & Decker donated tools.

A micro-studio partition at Open Works. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

A micro-studio partition at Open Works. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

With needs identified at a six-session listening tour helmed by the Neighborhood Design Center, the van is designed to be an extension of what’s offered at the space. Taking the makerspace on the road also plays into the larger vision of placing Station North as a maker campus.

“The larger concept here is to be developing a corridor of space, an area of innovation in education that sits outside of any one institution or any one organization, and is in the community, and is part of the larger life of the city,” said MICA Provost David Bogen.

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